Many songs of bushrangers have made a big impact culturally, but The Streets of Forbes is one of the most significant. Depicting the death of Ben Hall, it has been performed all around the world by scores of artists who each spice it with their own flavour. Folklore states that the words were originally written by John Maguire, Hall’s brother-in-law, it is perhaps the first recorded instance of the rumours about Billy Dargin being sent to assassinate Hall in his sleep.
There are quite a few versions of the song that apply the same basic story structure but diverge lyrically in many respects, but the version provided here is the definitive one.
As usual, here we provide the lyrics and a few videos of the song being performed.
The Streets of Forbes
Come all you Lachlan men and a sorrowful tale I’ll tell
Concerning of a hero bold who through misfortune fell
His name it was Ben Hall a man of good renown
Who was hunted from his station and like a dog shot down
Three years he roamed the roads and he showed the traps some fun
A thousand pound was on his head with Gilbert and John Dunn
Ben parted from his comrades the outlaws did agree
To give away bushranging and cross the briney sea
Ben went to Goobang Creek and that was his downfall
For riddled like a sieve was valiant Ben Hall
Twas early in the morning upon the fifth of May
When the seven police surrounded him as fast asleep he lay
Bill Dargin he was chosen to shoot the outlaw dead
The troopers then fired madly and filled him full of lead
They rolled him in his blanket and strapped him to his prad
And they led him through the streets of Forbes to show the prize they had
Lyrics via http://folkstream.com/084.html